Finding my joy again

Over the last few months I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more of an angry person. That’s definitely not someone I ever thought I would be, nor do I want to continue to be an angry person. I was raised to look at the positive side of things and to seek out the positive in the negative. I know the culprit of my anger, yet I’m currently stuck dealing with it for the time being. 

However, this period of anger has allowed me to reflect on what makes me happy and what brings joy to my life – fostering, volunteering, traveling, hanging out with my friends doing low key things, yoga, hiking, reading, coloring, quilting, crafting classes, Netflix marathoning, and blogging. So often we get stuck in the swirl of life that we forget to pause, reflect, and recenter our lives. Why don’t I do more of these things? I find myself having to choose, both consciously and unconsciously, between what I have to do that I forget to focus on the things I want to do. Working, sleep, and basic chores, while all necessary in life, take a substantial amount of time and energy! #spoonielife

Of course the missing piece to this equation is finding the positive in my situation and anger. I’ve tried. I really have! But month after month the situation is getting worse. I’m playing out Flowers for Algernon in real life. How can you go back to the way things use to be after how they’ve been? The simple answer is you can’t! I desperately wish there was a way to go back in time and do something over, but that’s not how life works; and that really sucks sometimes! So until the situation can be changed, I’ll need to focus more on the things that bring me joy because that’s the only way I’m going to be tolerable to myself and to those around me. 

One Year Anniversary of being a Vegetarian

A year ago I embarked on a new commitment to be a vegetarian. This last year has been easier than I thought it was going to be because I use to LOVE bacon and steak! Now I’ve found new foods to love like asparagus, brussel sprouts, and homemade smoothies.

To be honest, the toughest part of this last year was dealing with people. Most of the time, people were just naive and asked polite questions. But then there were some people who would try to tempt me with a steak or they would tell me I was stupid. I’m not sure what eating meat has to do with being smart?!?! But for the most part people were pretty supportive and after asking their initial first questions they dropped the conversation. Majority of the questions I was asked was why I became a vegetarian and if there was anything I could eat. This latter question makes me laugh a little and I wonder what people are taught or what people (don’t) know about food.

Regardless of the ignorant people I’ve dealt with, I’m so happy I became a vegetarian! I feel like I get to make a small difference every day by protecting the planet and saving the lives of animals, which was why I became a vegetarian in the first place! Cheers to another year!

Melissa and Joey TV workout

M&JI love Netflix! You can sit and watch an entire 10 seasons of a TV show in one weekend (with no sleep of course!) The problem with this is vegging on the couch for an entire weekend doesn’t line up with my fitness goals, so I love TV workouts because I still get to watch my marathons and still get in some workout time. Currently I’m hooked on this show (and couldn’t find a workout for Melissa and Joey on Pinterest), so I created my own.

Everytime:

-Joe compliments himself: 10 pushups (to look like Joe!)

-Joe cooks: wall sit the entire time

-Mel compliments herself: 10 Russian twists

-Mel or Joe make fun of one another: 10 leg lifts on each side

-Lennox compliments herself (lots of egos in this show):10 triceps dips

-Ryder is lacking self confidence/is awkward: 10 bicycles

-Someone mentions the scandal with Ryder and Lennox’s dad and Joe’s old company: superman (whatever level, length, and repetitions you want, but I like doing 15 reps on each side)

-Anytime all four of them are in the room: plank the entire time

Obviously this can be easily adjusted by adding length of time and counts. I’ve tried hard to make sure this targets the different areas of the body – legs, abs, back, and arms. Now back to my marathon! :))

Women and their lists

Every woman has one – some are longer than others, while some are more detailed than others, some lists are based on experience, while other lists are based on movies and pop culture – but every woman has a list of criteria for their future mate to possess. Don’t worry men, these lists are not the end all, be all! But it is nice to date a man and know he has covered a few key points on your list.

Recently, my family has given me a hard time because my list is too difficult to meet, and thus I turn down most men who ask me out. I don’t see it that way. I feel like my list is a way to weed out the potential life partners from the scumbags. I’ve been told that my list resembles myself a little bit, and maybe that’s the point of some women’s lists? Maybe we are looking for someone similar to us, and other women are looking for the complete opposite! Regardless, here’s my list:

  • Must be a kind person and a man of faith- no one wants to date an asshole. I’m not picturing a guy getting walked all over but a guy who is nice to their family, the homeless man on the street, his server, and the lost animal that he found. And having a man who I can go to church with or do mission trips with is also important.
  • Educated and worldly – I feel like I’m pushing myself through graduate school to better myself, it would be nice if a guy was doing the same in one way or another. Plus, at the end of the day it would be nice to come home and talk to a guy about something other than the weather! I picture myself and my guy talking about the news, sustainability and environmental issues, and maybe even politics. Plus, I love to travel and if I couldn’t share that with the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with, well then clearly he’s not the right guy for me!!
  • Must be funny and/or have a sense of humor – I’m pretty dorky, so it would be nice to share the dorkiness with someone else. Besides once body parts start to sag, I’ll be glad I have humor :))
  • Honest and trustworthy – I’ve been burned by this a few times in the past, so of course this is important! Nobody wants to end up being the crazy-jealous partner who snoops through the other’s possessions because they are shady.
  • The guy has a life of his own! – I’m a pretty busy person between my family and friends, work, school, my internship, volunteering, and hobbies. If a relationship depends on me being there then that means I have to give up all the things I enjoy and that make me who I am. That’s not to say that the guy can’t be apart of one of those categories or that we should never spend time together – just that we each have our own things to do and aren’t relying on the other person to make the relationship successful.
  • Similar futures/goals – Nothing is worse than realizing you both have two totally opposite wants and desires for the future. Think marriage, kids, money and budgeting, retirement, etc…

When I look over my list, I feel like I have a very easy list, yet it weeds out many guys, which is the point. I watched the movie Beauty and the Briefcase on Netflix the other night. Hilary Duff’s character, Lane, is on a job to find a man who meets every item on her list, which consists of 10 things – some are superficial like for the guy to have an accent. *SPOILER ALERT* She falls for a man who meets all her criteria and finds out that he’s the wrong guy for her and she winds up with a guy who meets nothing on her checklist. Either the point of the movie is women need to ditch their list to find love or Lane needed to create a better list. I don’t think the answer is to ditch our lists though. For most women, I would assume these lists are personal and there are very good reasons for having certain bullet points and not others. I truly believe my list has prevented me from settling into a relationship that I wouldn’t be satisfied with. And after every relationship I revise my list to make sure it is still applicable. But I think that’s truly the point of the list for women, is growth. We create a list so we are constantly pushing ourselves away from relationships that weren’t beneficial for us and towards relationships that would make us happy, healthy, and give us peace of mind.

PS… I didn’t mind watching Beauty and the Briefcase, but I certainly wouldn’t watch it again.

The Dissemination of the United States

I feel like the recent government shut down proves my theory! I have this theory that in the future there will no longer be a United States like we know it because people will get tired of the shenanigans happening on the federal level. So slowly, states will slowly start to become their own countries, like Northern Colorado and Texas.

Even though I have no research or evidence to thoroughly support my theory, I just foresee states not feeling equally represented at the federal level, because let’s be honest, the goals of Georgia are vastly different than New York, Colorado, and Oregon. So slowly, states will separate and become their own countries. I’m not saying this will happen anytime in the near future, but the 51st State Initiative here in Colorado, sort of proves my theory but on a much smaller scale. I think the United States will turn into the European Union of America; it will be an over-arching form of government that will continue to keep things in balance, but the countries (states) still have their own rule and say at the end of the day.

So as WordPress as my witness, this is my theory that will slowly pan out over the next few centuries. (Since I have to think of a dissertation topic, maybe I will look into this more in depth….) Again, I think the government shut down is just furthering the fact that Americans are unhappy with the federal government and these events will continue to prove that point.

If I had a Magic Wand

I found this website via Pinterest that talked about giving people a Magic Wand. People just decide the things they want done and the wand makes it happen. **If I was still in the education system I think this would be a cool writing prompt at the beginning and end of a geography or government class.

So I started thinking about what I would do with my magic wand. I don’t believe in just giving hand-outs to people who haven’t worked or earned it but I also know there are many people who truly need help. I also believe that many of the speeches given by world leaders and pageant girls is “solutions to the symptoms, not the problems” type of thinking, and I don’t necessarily agree with that. So here’s what I would do with my Magic Wand:

*I would want everyone to have a job that they loved and were good at – whether that be a doctor, a teacher, a cab driver, or whatever. If everyone has a job then they have income and could provide at least basic needs for them and their families.

*Since I believe the population is already over populated I would want my magic wand to “create” zero population growth. Not that families couldn’t have children, but that the many, many, many kids that are abandoned and in foster care could finally get adopted and feel love and the warmth of a family.

*I would also want everyone to be at least a vegetarian if not a vegan. The world now chops down more rainforest for grazing than agriculture. Meaning we are cutting down forests to make cows fat for our own consumption. That’s just one negative consequence of consuming meat – do a quick Google search for impacts of consuming meat and you’ll see dozens of consequences: animal abuse, excess water usage, starving children around the globe, increased chemicals and hormones in your body, large amounts of animal waste, runoff and land degradation to name a few others. Here’s NPR’s story on eating meat, you can skip the first 1 minute and 40 seconds and stop about 6 minutes and 38 seconds, which talks about other NPR stories.

*I would also re-do local, national, and international infrastructure to be more sustainable with more mass commuting types of transportation. I firmly believe if we had bullet trains running all over the nation that would cut on a lot of carbon emissions from the millions of vehicles on the road and that people would prefer to take a bullet train that lasts three to five hours to get from LA to New York instead of driving or flying, which are both tedious and expensive. If there were more light-rails, and subways, and Personal Rapid Transit, I think people would appreciate the convenience and the time savings from not sitting in two hours of traffic everyday.

*I would want companies to think about cradle-to-grave manufacturing and produce goods and products that could always be recycled and reused. This would also lead to less “stuff” being taken out of the ground, chopped down, or used once and thrown away.

*I would do away with all the bureaucratic BS that surrounds the school system (at least in the United States). I would want teachers to teach life skills while also teaching content but in a way that’s FUN and meaningful. I’m taking graduate classes and I can’t even stand when the professor lectures for 3 hours, why do we expect that of high school students?! There were so many ideas I wanted to do as a teacher but they didn’t follow the standards 100% or didn’t set the students up to be successful on the state standardized testing.

*Which leads me to my next action: do away with standardized testing, at least the way it currently stands in the United States – it’s demeaning and doesn’t show what students can actually do or what students actually think; it only separates the students who know how to take a test vs. the students who don’t know how to take a test. I saw this kid speak in Loveland this summer and was so impressed by him! His talk is called, “Would Einstein get into Harvard?” And it talks about how the ACT and SAT are ruining high school students, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m so against standardized testing that I took it until I graduated middle school and haven’t taken a state or national standardized test yet! I went to schools that didn’t require ACT or SAT for admittance or at least didn’t require it of me after I had a degree, and I went to a graduate school that doesn’t require a GRE to get in either.

*I would also ask the Magic Wand to implement a flat tax everywhere! People complain about lack of fairness when it comes to the government and taxes, but what’s more fair than everyone paying the same amount?! How is it anymore fair to over-tax Bill Gates than an immigrant who moves to the United States, becomes an entrepreneur and creates wealth for them and their family?! It’s not! If everyone pays the same across the board – that’s fair!

*I would want everyone to take a class or seminar or something that taught people how to properly communicate with one another, like how to fight fair, and how to disagree with someone’s point of view without degrading the person, and basic conversation skills. I meet so many people at my restaurant that have no idea how to talk to another human being.

*I would also want the death penalty for those who did heinous crimes, specifically anything to do with children or animals. The fact that if we did away with the prison system we could send every student in America (including illegal immigrants)  to school from kindergarten all the way through 4 years of college is disgusting! (This statistic comes from Waiting for Superman). That money could be better spent on education children and creating a better and bright world, not keeping scumbags alive.

As you can see, I didn’t ask for world peace or for everyone to get along because that’s not practical to me because there will always be conflicts and problems. I know in looking at my list, there is a few items that are pretty controversial and I feel like that’s acceptable. Not everyone would want the same things I want if they too had a Magic Wand. I could probably keep adding and adding to my list, but I feel like this is a good start at solving majority of the world’s current problems! What would you do with your Magic Wand?